Long-time industrial design collector George R. Kravis II recently donated a number of fascinating objects to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Institute in New York City.
Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection features some of the most influential objects in the history of industrial design through the 20th and early 21st century. From radios to furniture, made in the U.S. and around the world, this fascinating group of objects reflects the history and cultural zeitgeist of the times in which they were created.
Some of the notable objects in the collection include designer Norman Bel Geddes’ ca. 1931 Manhattan cocktail set, designer Cesare Cassati’s and C. Emanuele Ponzio’s 1968 Pillola lamps, and artist Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun solar-powered LED lantern of 2012.
Other items include a 1939 Gilbert Rohde vanity and a Castiglioni stereo cabinet from the 1960s.
An early fascination with records and a background in broadcasting motivated Kravis to begin his collecting with objects in this genre, but he later expanded his collecting efforts to include industrial design and furnishings from the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
As a collector, Kravis looks not only to the object’s purpose but also to its aesthetic, and that clearly shows through in this collection.
If you can’t get to New York to take in the exhibit, you can view the entire collection online thanks to the Cooper Hewitt’s online gallery.
In 2016, the Kravis Design Center published a coffee table book, 100 Designs for the Modern World, featuring selected pieces from the Kravis collection. A beautifully photographed publication, it’s well worth a look and it would be a great addition to any art enthusiast’s book collection.
The exhibit will be on display through March 12, 2017.